Bin Laden’s Death More Symbolic than Operational

Osama bin Laden is dead. To hear those words last night was immensely cathartic for me, as I’m sure it was for many Americans, especially those of us in New York. He was the symbol of the anger, the fear, the dread, the poison that had infected the American psyche since 9/11.

His capture and death is more symbolic than operational. We needed him dead. He was the boogeyman. Operationally, he has probably meaningless for five years, if not longer. The warped worldview he released, the poison that has infected so much of our discourse on religion, persists. We cannot think that with his death, the evil that he represents is gone.

I am glad that he’s gone, but I know that the war is far from over. However, without the head, perhaps we can have more focused and productive conversations on our role in the world.